Grizzlies rally to complete season-sweep of Mountaineers
ASC guarenteed of No. 7 seed in RMAC Tourney
GUNNISON, Colo.— Freshman setter Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) had a career-high 67 assists while sophomore outside hitter Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) put down 24 kills including the last two of the match as the Adams State College Grizzly volleyball team overcame 2-game and 11-9 fifth game deficits to snag a thrilling 35-37, 24-30, 30-25, 30-27, 15-12 victory at arch-rival Western State College, Friday night in the Mountaineers’ Paul Wright Gymnasium.
The victory was the seventh in the last nine for the Grizzlies, who are guaranteed to be the seventh seed in next week’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, the location of which will come down to Saturday, the final night of the regular season.
Although the Grizzlies are not sure if they will be going to Kearney, Neb. or Durango, Colo., they are sure that they will go with a winning record as Friday night’s victory pushed the Grizzlies overall and RMAC records both over .500. ASC is now 14-13 and 10-9 in RMAC play.
The Mountaineers, who received a match-high 26 kills from Tynet Calhoun, fell to 9-17 (6-12 RMAC) heading into their season finale on Saturday against Colorado State-Pueblo.
Friday’s win and Mesa State’s 4-game home victory over New Mexico Highlands in Grand Junction assured the Grizzlies that they will be the seventh seed in the RMAC Tournament. They will face the No.2 seed in a quarterfinal match on Friday, Nov. 11 at a time to be determined.
Nebraska-Kearney and Fort Lewis, both 16-2 in RMAC play, are currently tied for the top seed after both posted victories on Friday night. Nebraska-Kearney holds the tiebreaker over the Skyhawks and must simply beat 3-27 (1-17 RMAC) Colorado Christian on Saturday in order to claim the top seed and the right to host the tournament.
Assuming the Lopers do that, Fort Lewis would be the No. 2 seed and would play the Grizzlies in a rematch of last Saturday’s tilt that the Skyhawks pulled out 15-13 in the fifth game.
In Friday’s victory over Western State, the Grizzlies put down a season-high 84 kills and out-hit the Mountaineers .236 to .215.
Tuck was one of just four Grizzlies in double figures as sophomore middle blocker Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.), who hit .433, and freshman outside hitter Kimberly Ingram (Roswell, N.M.) put down 16 and 15, respectively. Senior right side hitter Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.) added another 14.
Defensively, junior Jessie Pickens (Cortez, Colo.) recorded a match-high 20 digs and was followed by freshman libero Amanda Strauss (Espanola, N.M.), who had 16. Tuck added nine more and joined freshman middle blocker Sarah Dirmeyer (Albuquerque, N.M.) with five blocks.
The Mountaineers’ Erin Osleson had 17 kills on a .308 hitting effort while setter Amy Thompson (61 assists, 14 digs) and Jamie Hamsa (10 kills, 12 digs) recorded the match’s only two double-doubles in the effort that came up short.
The first game was the longest of either team’s season and featured 17 ties and five lead changes. The Grizzlies trailed by as many as eight at 22-14 before a 7-0 run featuring two Jennings kills and two Dirmeyer aces brought the Grizzlies back.
Later in the set, the Mountaineers had three game point chances but could not covert before the Grizzlies failed to convert on four of their own. A Thompson dump kill, a Calhoun block and a ball handling error then gave the Mountaineers the game.
The Mountaineers then hit an impressive .457 in Game 2 rolling to the victory before the Grizzlies rallied to take Games 3 and 4.
The decisive fifth set was back-and-forth in the beginning as the Grizzlies took a 7-6 lead before Osleson, Calhoun and Thompson put down kills giving the Mountaineers a 9-7 cushion.
The teams then traded the next four points before an Ingram kill and Jennings block tied the game at 11. McNeil, who finished with eight kills on a .231 hitting effort, then put down one to give the Grizzlies a 12-11 lead.
After a Mountaineer hitting error that prompted a timeout, Calhoun answered back with a kill before Tuck dug deep to smash the Mountaineer hopes with back-to-back match-ending kills.
The win was the Grizzlies’ first road-triumph over the Mountaineers since 2003 and completed a season sweep for the first time since 1997.